Ground breaking Trachoma mapping project identifies 100 million people at risk of avoidable blindness

Mary (80yrs) had an eye problem for over 3 years and went to different health clinics where she was given ointment, but it did not help. She visited the CBM mobile eye clinic and was diagnosed with trachoma. Here she is seen offering thanks after her surgery.

The Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP), the largest infectious disease survey ever to be undertaken, has successfully identified 100 million people at risk of blinding Trachoma.

Partner background

CBM was one of several partners who contributed to this ground-breaking global collaboration, working in Pakistan with the College of Ophthalmology and Allied Visions Sciences, Lahore, to map prevalence of the disease across 4 districts of Punjab province and 2 districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) province.

Other partners in the ground-breaking collaboration included 30 ministries of health, the UK government (DFID) and US government (USAID), the World Health Organization, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) and 20 not-for-profit organisations, most of whom are members of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC). The Consortium was led by UK-based NGO Sightsavers. 


The GTMP aimed to map the global prevalence of trachoma, which is responsible for the visual impairment of an estimated 2.2 million people worldwide. Trachoma is an eye infection that strikes children and families who live in dusty regions and quickly spreads from person to person, attacking entire communities. It causes itching, pain and, if untreated, blindness.

The GTMP involved the global rollout over a 3-year period of a standardised assessment process which used trained eye health workers and a smartphone. Survey teams visited and examined people living in a sample of communities within pre-identified districts and captured data on the presence of the disease. It was estimated that 1 person was examined every 40 seconds over a 3 year period.

More than 550 teams travelled to the most trachoma endemic countries in the world and the remotest of locations. They trekked across snowy mountain ranges in Asia, navigated islands by boat in the Pacific, crossed jungles by light aircraft and dug-out canoes in South America to reach some of the remotest areas, to gather an accurate global picture of where trachoma is found. View the interactive feature which maps the world’s largest infectious cause of avoidable blindness.

The data collected is helping ministries of health plan their trachoma intervention programmes to achieve trachoma elimination by 2020 using the WHO-recommended “SAFE strategy”.